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Eating/Humble Pie

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146812.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:11 am Reply with quote

Etymology alert! Flash look away.

Q: Why do we eat humble pie?

A: Because 'numble' is offal: heart, entrails and liver. In the case of the pie, it refers to deer's entrails.

By mistake, the 'n' got removed from the word, and it became 'umble'.

'Umble pie' was eaten in the mid-seventeenth century, perhaps earlier.

(The first recorded mention of 'umble pie' is in 1648.)

The pie was made from deer offal, beef suet, apples, currants, sugar, salt, nutmeg and pepper.

The phrase 'eat humble pie' refers to the fact that 'umble pie' was food fit only for the lowest class of workers. The gentry would tuck into the far finer cuts of tender venison

The phrase to eat humble pie first appeared in print in Forby's Vocabulary of East Anglia in 1830.

The word 'numbles', derives from the Old French 'nombles' meaning "loin, fillet," and the Latin 'lumbus' meaning 'loin'.

146826.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:18 am Reply with quote

I was going to mention "upper crust" on the same subject, but no more than a cursory googling was required to show that the old story about the bottom part of a loaf of bread being burned and fed to the poor is complete rubbish. I even found a site where someone reported that they'd been told this story "by a tour guide at Anne Hathaway's house". A sure sign of bogus provenance if ever there was one.

I wonder if the loaf story is well known enough to feature as a GenIg question.

146830.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:20 am Reply with quote

I would suggest that "umble-pie" is extremely well known. Maybe too well known for our uses?

146833.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:22 am Reply with quote

Perhaps, Egg. Without looking on the internet, can you tell me where the phrase 'bring home the bacon' comes from?

It's a more interesting story IMHO.

146835.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:23 am Reply with quote

Is it something to do with the winners of boxing matches winning a pig, or am I about to be klaxoned

146837.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:25 am Reply with quote

Wah! Wah! Wah!

Check this out. Do you think it's worth a question?

146840.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:28 am Reply with quote

Argh, you know I remember that now, I even wrote it up for SQUIRE a few months ago.

Not sure that's where the phrase comes from though. Etymonline has the phrase as dating from 1908. Seems strange that if it comes from that ceremony it is unknown til the 20th century

146843.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:32 am Reply with quote

Seems to have been first used at a boxing match.

But I wonder about these things. Who on earth has time to check every book ever written for the one phrase 'bringing home the bacon?'

146848.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:35 am Reply with quote

Agreed. This is only the correct etymology until we find a more correct one.

146870.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:32 am Reply with quote

Bunter wrote:
Do you think it's worth a question?

It sounds to me like one of those questions that would just get blank looks. Certainly I'd never heard the thing about winning a pig at the fair, and would have assumed that it was just a figure of speech of the same kind as "earning a crust" "putting food in the family's mouth" etc.

Also, it's a question to which we don't really have an answer, isn't it?


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